Bringing it Together


Last week, information about the Bring IT, Together conference was sent to all those who are members of the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario.  It highlighted much of what will happen in Niagara Falls on November 5-7.  But, I know that not everyone is an ECOO member so I’m reposting the message here for the rest of you.  It would be wonderful for you to join Ontario educators for three days of learning, sharing, and making new contacts from outside your board.

 


 

In two short months, Bring IT, Together 2014 will be here.  After a year in planning, it will be exciting to see great Ontario Educators come together for three days of learning and sharing in Niagara Falls.  You’ll want to be one of them.

 

La conférence Bring IT, Together 2014 sera ici dans seulement deux mois! Après un an de planification, il sera intéressant de réunir les éducateurs de l’Ontario pour trois jours d’apprentissage et de partage à Niagara Falls. Soyez parmi nous!

 

BIT14 Logo.png

 

http://www.bringittogether.ca

 

The program for the event is posted for the world to see at:

 

Le programme de l’événement est affiché à l’adresse :

http://lanyrd.com/2014/ecoo14/

 

209 sessions of all sorts will be offered over the three days given by educators from all areas of the province.  You’ll see initiatives in classrooms just like yours and walk away with inspiration and ideas about how you can enjoy the same successes.  Wednesday is devoted to hands-on workshops, including the fabulous Ontario designed Minds on Media, with Thursday and Friday a mixture of keynote speakers and 50 minute sessions.

 

209 sessions de toutes sortes seront offertes pendant les trois jours. Ces sessions seront animées par des éducateurs provenant de toutes les régions de la province. Vous découvrirez des initiatives qui se passent dans des classes comme la vôtre, et vous repartirez avec l’inspiration et les idées qui vous permettront de jouir des mêmes succès. L’horaire de mercredi propose des ateliers pratiques, y compris le concept ontarien Minds on Media. L’horaire de jeudi et vendredi présente un mélange de conférenciers et des sessions pratiques d’une durée de 50 minutes chacunes.

 

And, of course, don’t forget the social events – receptions (Wednesday featuring the Kung Fu Lawyers), Minecraft, Photowalk by the Falls, Run with Alana, Jam Session, and ad hoc meetings that just spring up and take advantage of the location and also the Learning Space.

 

N’oubliez pas les événements sociaux – réceptions (Mercredi réception avec Kung Fu Lawyers), Minecraft, Photowalk près des chutes, la course avec Alana, Jam Session, et les rencontres spontannées vous permettront de tirer profit de l’emplacement pittoresque tout en apprenant!

 

An expanded exhibition hall will let you experience the latest and greatest and to talk with representatives.

 

Une salle d’exposition élargie vous permettra de découvrir des nouveautés et de jaser avec les représentants des commanditaires.

 

Much of what we know about children using technology in education comes from the research and work from Seymour Papert and his work at the MIT Media Lab.  Wednesday features an opening keynote address from Artemis Papert and Brian Silverman.

 

Une grande partie de nos connaissances au sujet de l’utilisation des technologies éducatives chez les jeunes vient de la recherche et des travaux de Seymour Papert et son travail au MIT Media Lab. Mercredi, nous vous proposons une conférence d’ouverture de Artemis Papert et Brian Silverman.

 

If you’ve ever searched for free educational resources, you’ve undoubtedly ended up on the Free Tech 4 Teachers website.  http://freetech4teachers.com/  Listen to Richard Byrne’s keynote and join him for a breakout session on Thursday.

 

Si vous avez déjà effectué une recherche pour les ressources éducatives libres, vous avez sans doute fini par trouver le site http://freetech4teachers.com/ Richard Byrne, auteur de ce site, prononcera la conférence d’ouverture et offrira une session de travail jeudi.

 

Ron Canuel speaks Friday morning and brings a global perspective from his 34 years in Canadian Education.  Ron is currently the president and CEO of the Canadian Education Association.  Ron will also specifically address the French educators at the conference.

 

Ron Canuel prononcera la conférence d’ouverture du vendredi matin. Il apporte une perspective globale nourrie de ses 34 ans en éducation au Canada. Ron est actuellement président et chef de l’Association canadienne d’éducation. Ron offrira ses commentaires, en français, aux éducateurs francophones lors de la conférence.

 

Bring IT, Together concludes with a keynote address from George Couros, the “Principal of Change”.  Supporting leadership and leaders, George will inspire us to use our learning and lead Ontario schools to even greater things.  http://georgecouros.ca/

 

La conférence Bring IT, Together se terminera par une allocution de George Couros, le »directeur du changement». Il nous parlera du leadership en action et nous incitera à utiliser nos expertises afin de permettre aux écoles de l’Ontario à effectuer un virage à l’ère numérique en douceur. http://georgecouros.ca/

 

For the second year in a row, ECOO and OASBO-ICT join forces to offer three days of incredible learning surrounding the use of technology in the classroom.  Plan now to join us in Niagara Falls, November 5-7.

 

Pour la deuxième année consécutive, ECOO et OASBO-TIC unissent leurs forces pour offrir trois jours d’apprentissage incroyable sur l’utilisation des technologies en salle de classe. Planifiez maintenant de vous joindre à nous à Niagara Falls, du 5 au 7 novembre.

 

Follow the conference

 

Suivez la conférence

 

Questions?  Contact email is conference@ecoo.org

 

Questions? Notre adresse courriel est conference@ecoo.org

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s a week “back at it” and Ontario Edubloggers are sharing their thoughts.  Who knew? Check out and feel some of the excitement that was shared online this past week. Needless to say, Monday night would be sleepless but the sleep will come from the exhaustion Tuesday on.


Starting Over

After being quiet all summer, Brandon Grasley is back at it.  It’s in a different role though.  He’s back in a school.  It will be interesting to follow the successes that he’s bound to have.  I wonder how many brothers and sisters of former students he’ll run into?


My First Day Of Learning

You know, that those of us in the Aviva Dunsiger fan club, would have lots of questions as she changes school and grades.

  • Will she change her Twitter handle again?
  • Will she continue to do her daily shoots of classroom activities?
  • Will she share everything that’s going on with us?
  • Can she successfully park in a new parking lot?

We know that point number three will happen from her first blog post.

Read the entire post to find out the other things that she’s learned at the start of the new year.


First Impressions

Of course, we live in a world of priorities.  Diana Maliszewski’s biggest concerns was her new hair for school.

I still remember the ECOO Conference where she went right in front of me, waved, and I had no idea who she was.  She’s a lady of 1000 looks.

When you get past the looks, I’m sure that her students and their parents will really love her passion for gaming and how she expertly weaves it through the curricular content.  That’s the important part.


Reflections on the upcoming school year

Deborah McCallum is digging deeply into her thoughts about students, and particularly the use of technology in her latest post.  She includes a list of strategies and expands upon her plans using TPACK and SAMR to “help guide her thinking“.

This is a wonderful read and a good example to model if you’re using technology.  It’s not just there, it allows students to do different things and, for me, that should be the overriding rationale for doing anything.

If she’s able to pull off all that she’s covered in this post, I just know that it is going to be an incredible year of growth for both her and her students.  All the best.


Thoughts: Labour Day 2014

That we have the greatest profession in the world is a nicely kept secret sometimes. The good news stories, and there are thousands of them daily, seldom hit the press.  There’s the occasional report but often it’s a filler for the media or a reporter has a particular connection to it.

But, there’s nothing like the negatives in education to make the news.

In the midst of the excitement of back to school, Donna Fry reminds us that not everything is happy in Canada.

She quotes some wise advice from Catherine Montreuil.

“Teaching in isolation is no longer consistent with professionalism.”(Catherine Montreuil, August 2014).

There was a time when you’d laughingly say that once you close the classroom door, nobody knows what happens.  How old does that seem?

We live in a world where we celebrate our connections and our passions.  Donna points to some British Columbia educators as being on the forefront.  We can’t overlook all this just for the sake of some negative news stories.  There are real passionate teachers who just want to do the right thing for students and for education.  That can never be overlooked.


What an incredible collection of posts.  Thanks, everyone.  Please take a moment to visit and read the entire posts above and all those of the Ontario Edubloggers.  If you’ve started your own blog, please fill out the form at that link and I’ll get you added to the Livebinder.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I just flew in from Niagara Falls and, boy, are my arms tired.  Yeah, I know, it’s an oldie but I think a goodie.  Henny Youngman?

Anyway, it was a day of planning for the Bring IT, Together Conference with my co-chair Cyndie Jacobs and we’re excited about the event.  It’s a chance to bring together Ontario educators for three days devoted to technology and, of course, a chance to catch up with some of the Ontario Edubloggers.  They’re always talking about something – here’s some of what I read this week.


A million thank you’s all the way from Greece!

Joanne Marie Babalis checked in reporting “a million” from her online presence.  I’m not sure if it’s hits or followers but that’s certainly a big number so congratulations.

Of course, the goal once you hit a million, is to hit two million so click through and add to her numbers!


“Boom! That just happened” – My Experience at the Google Teacher Academy

I remember my first look at the Google Campus.  I’m sure that my chin had hit the ground hard and was dragging.

Read about Rolland Chidiac’s experience here.  He shared 10 things that stuck with him after his visit to the Google Teacher Academy.


Things We Learn From Our Students

Lorraine Boulos shared an interesting take on a guest blogger for her blog.  She asked a retiring teacher to share some thoughts.  So, Mark Whinton penned three things learned from students.

It’s amazing advice as we head into the 2014-2015 school year.

Sadly, not everyone is listening. Kudos to those that are.


When is something worth writing about?

I really enjoy reading the leadership thoughts from Sue Bruyns.  Reflection has always been job #1 for me – I think it lets you learn from the present and plan for the future.  With social (and traditional) media, there is no shortage of places to write and share your thoughts.

As Sue expertly notes….

Maybe the question isn’t “When is something worth writing about?” but “When is something not worth writing about?”  There certainly is the public forum and there are no shortages of readers.  There’s also the private domain and that can be just as rewarding.

If it’s not memorialized somehow, it may just get lost forever.


Readers, this has been a wonderful week of reading and reflecting.  Thanks so much for continuing to share, think, learn, and grow.

Please take the time to check out these posts and the entire collection of Ontario Edubloggers.

And, most certainly, all the best next Tuesday.

This Never Gets Old


A couple of days ago, I was channel surfing looking for something interesting to watch on television to kill some time.  We had company on the way so it couldn’t be too time consuming.  I also had my laptop open to the left of me and had half an eye on new Twitter messages flying by. 

I noticed a few in a row from Brian Aspinall in my Ontario Educators stream.  (@mraspinall)

It looked like he was as bored as I was or was doing some research. 

He was retweeting messages about Scrawlar.  It’s one of his babies in the digital world – a combination of word processor / whiteboard built with collaboration and no data collection in mind.  A lot of people like the approach that he’s taken.  I reviewed the product here.

It was actually interesting to see where he was digging up the resources.  I stopped looking for something on the tube and watched him.  I thought I would help his cause and retweeted messages as he sent them.  It’s probably a futile effort because earlier that week we came to the agreement that we probably have the same community on the social network.  Oh well.

There was one that was of particular interest to me.

It was a short tutorial, written in blendspace.  This was a service that I’d never heard of before.  But, I retweeted the message knowing that would somehow, some day, reach my radar for a little more research.

 

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A couple of seconds later, my half-eye noticed that my Twitter message had been retweeted.  Brian?

This wasn’t a terribly unusual occurrence – this is how Twitter works, right?

Then, again and again and again.

I looked yet again and there was a retweeter that I’d never seen before.  So, I checked her bio.

She was from Italy.

I did a little mental math time conversion and realized that it was very early in the morning, her time.

Two things crossed my mind.

  • I wonder what wine region she lives in?
  • Is she camped out at Monza at Curva Parabolica waiting for the Grand Prix?

Am I bad because the two things that I think of when I think Italy are wine and Formula 1 racing?

In reality, she’s probably a hard working teacher preparing for a new class, looking for good resources and certainly Scrawlar fits that bill.

I thought Brian might get a kick out of the reach that his project has so sent him a private message to check the source.

We had a little back and forth about the humility of all this.  We’re just a couple of people doing some learning and sharing in the evening. 

The fact that someone half a world away wants to join in just blows you away.  As Brian noted, he’s just a guy sitting on a living room couch cranking out code on his laptop.  Yet, his work is being appreciated so far away.  But, when you think of the reality, it could be a first year teacher two blocks over looking for good resources.

There’s something about this shared learning that is so impressive.  For how many years have school boards tried to engage teachers with official memos sent from central office and failed?

Yet, the connected learner has that – and so much more.

For me, this moment never gets old.

Another #BIT14 Visualization


After Saturday’s post about Tweetbeam, I received a note from a former student of mine, @JeffClark who invited me to try his Twitter visualization program.

So I did!

Jeff’s done a bunch of visualizations at his Neoformix site.  He calls his Twitter search visualization Spot.

I fed it the hashtag #bit14 and sat back to watch.  I do enjoy a good visualization and I wasn’t disappointed here.

In fact, he visualizes the data a number of different ways.  Your visualization is selected by the icons on the top of the screen.

 

Banner View

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Timeline View

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User View

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Word View

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Source View

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Group View

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I’ve captured the above images real sized and let WordPress resize them for your browser.  Use your local browser to view the original image if you’re interested in seeing it.

Complete descriptions about the views are contained on the page Introducing Spot on the Neoformix site.

I’m glad that Jeff dropped by to remind me of his work.  Visit the Neoformix site if you’re interested in more details about this project or any of the others that have been created.

In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy another way to visualize the buzz leading to the #BIT14 conference.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


This is the third post in a row written using Windows Live Writer.  That means that I’ve been using Windows for three days in a row.  That’s a modern day record!  I notice that it’s Live Writer 2011.  I wonder if there’s been an upgrade?  I recall reading recently that it might go open source.  That would be awesome.

Back on topic … here’s some great posting from Ontario Edubloggers from this past week.

A Letter to a New Teacher

On the Voice of Canadian Education blog, Stephen Hurley issued this challenge.

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If you could write a letter to a first year teacher, what advice would you pass along.

He gives some perspective – what an administrator might say, what a student might say, what a teacher might say, what an outsider might say, …

I think it’s a great idea and I’m going to accept the challenge and write a blog post over the weekend sharing my thoughts.

Thanks for the inspiration, Stephen.


My Thoughts on the Peel District School Board’s Social Media Guidelines for Staff and Teachers

Fred Galang shares some of his thoughts about the Peel DSB’s social media guidelines.

Recently, the Peel District School Board released their social media guideline for staff and teachers. As much as I applaud their initiative (they’ll be the first to outline such guidelines for social media use in detail), there were a few items that sparked a healthy convo with my Tweeps over the last two days. Without the risk of repeating myself, I’ll simply address the most contentious for me.

In the beginning, teacher use of social media was really experimental.  I can recall being involved with the OTF Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century series.  In some quarters, there was a wish that there would be rules or guidelines.  I remember having the discussion at the time and we agreed that you just couldn’t put it all into a one pager.  The best advice we got still applies to day “Don’t do stupid things.”

I absolutely agree with Fred’s concerns.  I never was a fan or rules.  They always define a line between someone’s concept of what’s right and what’s wrong.  If you’ve ever been in a classroom, you know that’s an immediate red flag for students to determine where that line actually is. 

My sense is that the document still has the mentality that social media is a “think” that can be clearly defined and all the negatives drawn from it.  The document does identify concerns, particularly about student privacy.  Instead of a social media document that defines that, wouldn’t it make more sense to expand any existing privacy resource to include cautions? 

I do wonder about the concept of having a person and a professional account.  We’ve all seen people try to manage that and post from the wrong account.  What would happen if students actually found out that you’re human and are a fan of the Detroit Tigers?  Certainly the world wouldn’t end.

I still like the original advice “Don’t do stupid things.”

Royan Lee also wrote about the same thing and garnered some comments from Ontario Educators well worth the reading.


How BYOD/T is Getting Easier, How it’s Getting Harder

Not to belittle Royan’s other post, I really like what he did when he tackled the topic of BYOD/T again.

It’s to his credit that he’s identified in one of the comments as a “pioneer”.  He’s certainly been very vocal and open about his experiences over the time that devices were welcomed in his class.  He addressed these in detail in an interview that I had with him.

Royan’s just generally a great guy.  I recall sitting next to him watching his kids swimming and we were just chatting.  I still remember thinking “this guy is going to change the world, one class at a time”.  He’s very vocal but not the sort of evangelist that exudes a “follow me or begone” approach.

In a world where some are debating the merits of BYOD, Royan speaks with the mature voice of experience. 

If you’re collecting a list of definitive resources about BYOT, you need to include this post. 

Dean Shareski did.


Yearning For The Printed Photograph

Facebook friends know that I had a major life event this past week.  I was there with my phone taking pictures and sharing them on Facebook with friends.  It’s fast and efficient and you get to see them all just as quickly as I can post them.  Not all of them were absolute perfection but they were from my eyes.

My wife, on the other hand, goes a more traditional route.  Even though she has a digital camera, it’s off to Shopper’s to get printed copies of them.  She likes the more permanent record of them and the fact that she can put them in an album and leave them on a shelf.

Aviva Dunsiger reflected on the value of the printed photograph.  I couldn’t help but think that this approach (and grudgingly my wife’s) will stand the test of time.

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I think it’s testament to family history and the eye of the photographer that someone later on can use the word “incredible” to describe their efforts.

It makes you wonder about the legacy of images that those of us share online.  I know that I do keep a copy on backup here but there still a trip into town away from being put in an album.  There’s merit in that – one of my own favourite throwback pictures is of two buzzcut kids with their grandmother. 

There probably is a preferable half-way meeting of the technologies to satisfy both worlds. 

Check out Aviva’s entire post as she takes a look at both sides of the discussion.  There’s some pretty wise insights and, as per Aviva’s normal, a bunch of questions to ask yourself.


Thanks everyone for continuing to write and inspire.  Please take the time to enjoy the entire posts and all of the postings from Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always some great writing happening.

And, while writing this, I downloaded the latest Live Writer to see if I have the latest.  I might have to hang around Windows for another day or so…

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s too cold to go outside these past couple of days so people are taking time to blog!  We’re beneficiaries of their thoughts and opinions!


There is a space…

Sheila Stewart is pondering about his quote:

Going back in my mind to university days and psychology courses, I’m not sure that the statement could be taken literally.  But I think that there’s a great deal to think about – particularly in this digital age.  I smiled and thought of my recent post “You have about five seconds…”  In the digital world, I do find myself making decisions quicker – at one point, they might have been tempered by a long walk, but not necessarily now.  Maybe I should up that to six seconds.


Art Busking for Cancer!

Colleen Rose, a frequent blogger on her own Northern Art Teacher blog had an increased presence on Facebook recently.  She’s painting at the Thunder Bay Health Science’s Centre, collecting donations as she goes along, and her painting will be auctioned off at the end – all in the name of fundraising.  Awesome.


How To Create QR Codes To Use In Your Classroom

A few years ago, at EdCampQuinte, I led a session where we discussed the use of QR Codes.  The concept was very new at the time but there were a number of reasons, we decided, that made it worth the time and effort.  Now, they’re everywhere – enter a contest by scanning a code here, see the complete details of a new car by scanning there…  it takes away the necessity of waiting to get online and typing in a URL.  Just scan it and go.

In Belleville, we all agreed that the most painful thing in the world is to watch a primary or junior student type an address on the keyboard and get it right, the first time, and without mistake.  It’s even worse on iOS for young fingers since you have to go to special characters to just get the “/” key.  (not so on Android…)

So, speed and accuracy, are two great reasons.  And the fact that you can place QR Code anywhere makes for instant access as long as you have a QR Code reader.

Kristen Wideen explains how she creates and uses QR Codes in her classroom.

This post is definitely worth a read and share with colleagues interested in codes.  Now, there are so many utilities to help you create QR Codes.  There’s no excuse for not doing it.  Rather than a website, I have an extension in my browser – QRUTILS.com to do the trick for me.  Before and after EdCampQuinte, I had created a Scoop.it resource where I’ve tucked away things that I’ve found helpful.  I’ve added Kristen’s blog post to the resources.


Principals

I can remember when principals where members of Teachers federations and there was no question that they were true teachers in the profession.  I was so fortunate, having had three principals at my school and then a couple of supervising principals later on, to have worked with some of the best educators that I know.  Either that or they left me alone to avoid talking about computers.

But, I have seen principals take on different personas when they sit in the chair in the big office.  Some take the budget and spend to get the best resources into the school; some become the ultimate manager of the building; some become single-focused with EQAO within the building; some balance priorities; well, you get the point.  That they’re so diverse should be expected – after all they’re human too.

There were some interesting blog posts surrounding principals this week.

When Principals Meddle

Andrew Campbell takes on the diversity of skills and approaches among principals and questions the professional decision making that teachers are allowed to make.

Can’t We All Just “Get Along?”
Does “Getting Along” Mean That We Have To Agree?

Aviva Dunsiger jumped into the conversation with a couple of her own posts, including a comment from her vice-principal.  She seems to think that there might be some sort of middle ground where everyone “gets along”.

All three blog posts are interesting to read and think about.  I would suggest that anyone who will be taking on a position of added responsibility read and think – what kind of administrator do I want to be, keeping in mind the old adage about pleasing all the people some of the time…and really put a focus on what it’s going to take for true student achievement.


And then, there’s principals learning…

Technology – SAMR for Administrators The Edutopia series
Technology SAMR Model for Administrators – Part 2: Community Interaction The Edutopia Series

Paul McGuire is digging in to how the SAMR model could apply to administrators.

Before moving to any particular tool, Work makes a great point – time is a precious commodity for any school staff and we need to really examine if there are other ways to convey information beyond the traditional (yawn) staff meeting.


Becoming a Google Educator Vice-Principal…

Kelly Power is spending her energies becoming “Googley”, but in an administrative kind of way…

KellyThat’s a lot of Google.


I hope that you get a chance to read all of the above.  Some great resources and thinking from Ontario Educators.  You can check out my entire list here and please, please, if you’ve started your own blog, take a couple of minutes and complete the form so that your blog can be added to the list.